Although I loathe Donald and love Hillary, I kidded that I wanted to vote for Jed Bartlet, but the ballot did not provide for a presidential write-in. Words fail this English Ph.D. to describe the moral abyss, psychological morass, and political maelstrom which Trump is. The combination of ignorance, arrogance, and sociopathy has never appeared before on the national stage as the candidate of a major political party. For this unique ascension of this man to his nomination as candidate for the presidency of the United States, all Americans are indebted to the Republican Party.
Donald Trump—racist, misogynist, homophobe, xenophobe, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Semite (what have I missed?)—is the clearest embodiment and expression of what Republicanism has insinuated itself to be and what Republicans have supported at least since the “Southern Strategy” almost 50 years ago. By accepting, appealing to, and exploiting its Base, Republicans have mounted a beast from which it cannot dismount. The National Republican Party remains steadfast in Trump’s support. Republican leaders in Congress—notably, the Republican leaders of the House and Senate Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell—and out—Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich—have surrendered their claim to responsible conduct in the service of their country’s interest. Ryan and Mitchell retreat into waffle; Giuliani and Gingrich rally to the cause. Depending on the risks to their re-election, Republican candidates try bob-and-weave or rope-a-dope to avoid the defilement of association with Trump. On the national stage, Republicans are implying that taking personal responsibility is something which they recommend for others.
Republicans should be punished for foisting Trump on this country and allowing him to poison American democracy. Up-ballot, of course, and down-ballot, for sure—they should all be held accountable for enabling this man’s candidacy. They should be punished by straight-party voting for Democratic candidates for every office in the land, from the presidency to dogcatcher. They should never be forgiven until they, as party and as individual party leaders and federal officeholders, apologize for their politically heinous behavior. Any exceptions to their party’s and their leaders’ irresponsibility are tainted by the company which they keep.
Their last resort—encouraging votes for their Senate and House candidates to obstruct Clinton—shows them as unrepentant about their intent, and as resolved, to wreck American democracy. As Trump has made clear his intent to rewrite the Constitution according to his impulses, so Ryan, Mitchell, and others have made clear their intent to prevent Constitutional government under Democrat leadership by obstructing all presidential appointments (thank you, John McCain, for spilling the beans). If the Democrats win the Senate, Chuck Schumer must be willing at the outset to redefine the rules on filibusters and “holds” so that they do not apply to presidential appointments. Republican Senators can argue and vote against any nominee, but they should not be able to block appointment of qualified individuals to serve government.
Re-building confidence in America’s political system is not something which the Republicans can do, so great is their hostility to democracy, so great is their support for “small government,” and so consistent are their efforts to impair democracy by voter suppression, and government by shutdowns and filibusters. It is something which only Democrats and Independents can do. The need for recovery from Republican-sponsored sabotage of the country’s Constitutional commitment to “We the People” is the reason for voting a straight Democrat ticket in all contested elections.